Against PerfectionismDeciphering the limits of self-improvement.

Against PerfectionismDeciphering the limits of self-improvement.

Every day, we’re bombarded with images and messages prescribing how we should look, work and act. Success stories saturate the internet and social media, without any mention of the frustration or years spent toiling away to reach that point. We are led to believe that perfection is attainable.

But there are crucial differences between striving for excellence and being shackled by the impossible goals of perfectionism. “When we think of a perfectionist, we think of someone who is lauded for their exemplary achievements. This is not the case,” explains psychologist and author Dr. Tamar Chansky. “Perfectionism is a cognitive distortion—the idea that things can ever be perfect, which they cannot. Holding this mind-set doesn’t lead to productivity or pride. Instead, it’s corre...

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